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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief, Valentine’s Day, The Wolfman

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Romance is in the air this weekend. With Valentine's Day on Sunday, the holiday will likely entertain an extended celebration throughout the weekend. Hoping to capitalize on the holiday will be last weekend's top grossing film, Dear John, along with a new ensemble romantic comedy named after the holiday itself. Unfortunately we do not get a true romance like My Bloody Valentine this year. I kid;  I kid. However, we do get a little of the red stuff suitable for the holiday in a new take on the werewolf story.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief. (2010, 120 minutes, PG, fantasy) Chris Columbus returns to the big screen with another shot at a franchise aimed at the younger set. You will remember that Columbus was at the helm for the first two Harry Potter outings. This time around it is the Percy Jackson series of books. In this initial offering we meet Percy, a kid always in trouble and on the verge of expulsion when things begin to change. Mythological creatures begin to appear and it is up to Percy and his friends to stop them and find out what's happening. Logan Lerman stars as the title character and is joined by th likes of Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, and Sean Bean. The trailers make the film look slick, although I cannot say they terribly excite me.

Valentine's Day. (2010, 90 minutes, PG-13, romantic comedy) Garry Marshall's latest film is set in Los Angeles and centers on the holiday of its title. It tells of ten people and how their lives intersect on the holiday. It has a cast filled with recognizable faces and looks like it could be enjoyable, although I am not holding my breath. The cast includes Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Emma Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Topher Grace, and Ashton Kutcher.

The Wolfman. (2010, 125 minutes, R, horror) This oft-delayed project is finally coming out. That is unless they decide to change something at the last minute. The Joe Johnston-directed film was originally set to be released in, I believe, the Fall of 2008, then spring of 2009 then the Fall of 2009, until finally settling here. These delays are usually not good signs for a quality movie, but there is always hope. The trailers have looked really good, they give me the impression of a modern Hammer Studios production. One can only hope that feeling carries through to the film. The story has Benicio Del Toro returning to England from America to search for his missing brother. The search unveils a secret that has tied werewolves to his family history. You can guess where it goes from there. Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving co-star.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Arabia
  • My Name is Khan

Box Office Predictions
It looks like this week could be the one where we start seeing Avatar begin its slide towards the bottom. This is not to say it will not rake in the money, but it will no longer be at the top of the box, Dear John broke that seal last week. This week I am leaning towards the Valentine's titled film to arrive on top, although I am also expecting a good showing from The Wolfman.

Here is how I think it could play out:

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Rank Title Box Office
1 Valentine's Day $31 million
2 The Wolfman $24 million
3 Percy Jackson $20 million
4 Avatar $18 million
5 Dear John $17 million
6 Tooth Fairy $4.75 million
7 From Paris with Love $4.5 million
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